Everything's Easy - Girlyman Album Review
'Everything's Easy' is the fourth full-length album from Brooklyn born, Atlanta dwelling, trio Girylman. Comprising Nathan Borofsky, once labelled 'Folk Lord' in Boston Magazine's 2001 Best Of Awards (He also won that years Boston Music Award for 'Outstanding Singer-Songwriter), Doris Muramatsu and Tylan (Ty, Tammy) Greenstein, both classically trained guitarists, and former members of critically acclaimed 'The Garden Verge' and newly accredited member JJ Jones, Girlyman are not without pedigree or talent.
The band describes themselves as both "Harmony driven Gender-Pop" and "Leading edge three-part harmony folk-pop". They have been frequent winners, or nominees, of OutMusic (Supporters of under represented openly LGBT, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender, Recording Artists & Performers) awards from their inception in 2001. The album is a self-written*, produced and released affair containing either individual or co-written numbers by each member of the band. (*'Up To The Sea' is a Nate arrangement and lyric to Beethoven).
The main flavour of 'Everything's Easy' is close harmony folk with an alt-pop twist. The vocalisation on each track is fantastic and stunningly produced to let each voice soar and shine. The influence and inspiration derived from Simon & Garfunkel is clearly evident throughout the 15 tracks. The three voices of the band sit astonishingly well together, complimenting and combining to lift each song above the sum of its parts. The title track, written by Nate, is a gentle acoustic guitar testament to this. Other highlights include 'Hudson' an ode to the river that sits aside the growing and groaning metropolis...."This sediment was never meant, To hold these trucks and cement, One hundred billion metric tons, This city never will be done." There are great tales of lost love and anguished relationships on 'Storms Were Mine', 'Trees Still Bend' and the 'House Song' as well as jaunty anachronisms in the form of the overtly trad/pop 'My Eyes Get Misty' and the weaker, near a cappella, 'True Love'. By far the best
track on 'Everything.' is the fabulous 'Easy Bake Ovens'. It's a song about growing up, somewhat oddly (Only because if it's a tale told first hand they don't seem old enough) set in the Nixon/Ford era of America. The imagery it produces through the faultless lyrics almost forgive the albums few small deficiencies...
Back then we had to be cool,
But nobody taught me the rules.
So I wrote them down,
On the inside of my fast food paper board crown.
Riding bikes before I learned about brakes,
Around and around those cul-de-sac lanes.
Teens rolling by in their giant green cars,
Driving like rain, they were kissing like stars.
If you like a bit of Folk, but can only spare the time for one track, at least make it 'Easy Bake Ovens'. The rest of the album will not disappoint and contains many wonderful little gems and lyrical anecdotes. The album artwork may be paint by numbers but the music certainly isn't. It could do with editing in parts, possibly the result of self-production where each member had not wanted to offend the other by suggesting that 'their' track be the one to be cut! The band are very accomplished performers and musicians but have probably limited their appeal, unnecessarily, by focusing on the Gender-Pop label they have tagged themselves with. The album stands on it's own merits and has gone down well in America where it was released last August. If you fancy a further listen, Girlyman will be touring the UK & Ireland in late September and October.
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